MADISON – Hoping to honor the seniors with a victory, junior tailback Corey Clement “tried to do what he could” against a physical Northwestern defense.
He didn’t do much running the ball but it was better than anybody else.
Clement finished with 24 yards and 10 carries, which included Wisconsin’s lone touchdown at the start of the third quarter in the Badgers’ 13-7 loss to the Wildcats.
Outside of that, the Badgers got six yards from Taiwan Deal, two yards from Dare Ogunbowale and minus-58 yards from Joel Stave (50 of which came off of six sacks). The grand total of minus-26 yards were the lowest for UW in nine years.
“Just like the last game I played against Rutgers, I’m still not at 100 percent, but why not come out here, not be selfish and try to have them have a victory for the last Camp Randall game,” said Clement.
Clement has been on the shelf since running for 115 yards and three touchdowns against the Scarlet Knights Oct.31. He missed the game against Maryland after soreness in his legs following his late September sports hernia surgery prevented him from practicing. During the bye week it was announced Clement had his hand cut after being assaulted at his off-campus apartment.
Head coach Paul Chryst said the junior had practiced all week but had no clue what to expect.
“With Corey, it's week-to-week whether he would even play and then it's warm ups and how's he feeling,” said Chryst “I thought he did some good things. He was patient. Talking about earlier, we were struggling to get anything going in the run game, but I thought he did some good things. It, obviously, was a big touchdown run. We didn't have a pitch count, because we didn't know where it would go.”
Clement said after the game that the hand wasn’t an issue in only his third game this season.
Even so, Clement was a spectator on Wisconsin’s final offensive drive, as the Badgers attempted all passes considering they had to go 74 yards in 1:47 with no timeouts. He said he bugged running back coach John Settle for a carry but UW elected to throw the football, resulting in the controversial incompletion by Jazz Peavy following a review.
“It sucked,” Clement said. “As I just sat back … and we kind of got in the red zone, I was itching to get back in because I’m red-zone friendly. I feel once like I get into the red zone, I have tunnel vision. I just try to find a way into the end zone as fast as possible but it wasn’t my call.”
UW says Correct Call on Punt
Although it wasn’t the popular opinion at the time, Chryst and senior Alex Erickson agreed that his signaling his teammates to get away from a bouncing punt was an illegal fair catch and that play should have been blown dead.
“Everyone's used to the over-the-head fair catch signal,” said Chryst. “And now I understood what they were calling. When the ball bounces short and you try to warn everyone to get away from the ball. Any signal at all, the returner can't advance it.”
Erickson initially had no intention of fielding a punt miway through the third quarter and waved his hands from left to right below his waist to announce his intentions. The punt kept bouncing in his direction, however, and Erickson fielded the kick to save position.
Not hearing a whistle and having three Northwestern defenders miss a tackle, Erickson kept running and didn’t stop until he went 78 yards for an apparent touchdown. Had the play stood, UW would have taken the lead at 14-10.
UW ended up punting five plays later after gaining just 11 yards.
“I figured that when it went in my hands that the play was going to be done, but I really didn’t wave too much” said Erickson. “In my mind I was about to stop, just avoid one tackle and I was going to stop. And they kept coming, so I just kept moving. Next thing you know I broke it out and I still didn’t hear no whistle. That’s the rule; when you wave your hand, it’s basically fair catching and you’re giving up on it. I was just trying to save some yardage there.”
Schmidt Stands In
Before Saturday, redshirt junior walk-on Logan Schmidt's responsibilities were contributing on special teams. That changed in a hurry in the second half, as the walk-on from Gotham, Wis., ran with the first-team offensive line at right guard the rest of the game.
“I think I did alright,” said Schmidt. “There’s obviously areas that I can improve on, but that’s what practice is for. We just have to learn about what happened, learn from it and keep growing.”
Chryst said the switch happened because right guard Walker Williams was injured and couldn’t finish the game. He didn’t elaborate when it happened or what the injury was.
Williams was, however, beaten badly on a sack in the first half and appeared to be laboring against Northwestern’s defensive line. The Wildcats had four of their six sacks in the first half.
Extra Points: After winning six straight home finales from 2006-11, Wisconsin has now lost three of its last four on senior day … Holding Northwestern to 60 passing yards, the Wildcats join Iowa and Rutgers as opponents that failed to pass for over 100 yards against UW’s defense … Vince Biegel (14), Jack Cichy (11), Chiwe Obasih (7), Alec James (7) and Conor Sheehy (5) all set a career high in tackles. Joe Schobert (13) tied his career high.